Fierce battles on the outskirts of Mazar-i-Sharif… the Taliban are advancing towards Kabul and an American “shock” over the weakness of the government’s resistance | Afghanistan News

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The Taliban extended its control over most of the areas surrounding the Afghan capital, Kabul, and 17 provinces were in its grip until last night, while Washington condemned what it called the weak resistance of government forces in repelling the Taliban attack.

The Taliban announced that its fighters stormed the city of “Sharana”, the center of Paktika province, and seized weapons and equipment, noting that fierce battles are also taking place on the outskirts of Mazar-i-Sharif, the center of Balkh province in the north of the country.

A security source told the island that Taliban militants took control of the central prison in Paktika province and released all detainees.

The movement had announced that it had taken control of more states, bringing the number to 17 states, including Herat, Kandahar, Helmand, Badghis, Ghor, Uruzgan and Logar.

With the movement’s control of Logar state, which is not far from Kabul, fear and anticipation prevail among the residents of the capital, who are anticipating the worst, and fear that their city will be the last line of defense.

Ongoing battles

Local media broadcast pictures that said that the moment the Taliban fighters entered the city of Sharna, and in the same province, the Taliban spokesman confirmed that the “Khair Kot” area had become under the control of the movement’s fighters.

Fighting continues in the city of Gardez, the center of the southeastern province of Paktia, as the movement’s fighters took control of a checkpoint in the area and seized ammunition and weapons.

The Afghan Defense Ministry said that 22 Taliban militants were killed in a raid on Balkh province in the north of the country, the bulk of which has become under the control of Taliban fighters, in addition to the west and south of the country.

Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif (the largest cities in the north) and Jalalabad (east) are the only three major cities still under government control.

trapping cable

With the fall of the country’s second and third largest cities to the Taliban, the capital, Kabul, has effectively become besieged and the last outpost of government forces.

Taliban fighters are now stationed only 50 kilometers from Kabul, which made several European countries, including Britain, Germany, Denmark and Spain rush to withdraw personnel from their embassies there on Friday.

The Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Italy and Spain also announced yesterday that they would reduce their presence in the country to a minimum, pointing to programs to evacuate their Afghan staff, and Germany also said that it would reduce its diplomatic staff.

Other countries, such as Norway and Denmark, preferred to temporarily close their embassies, and Switzerland, which has no embassy, ​​announced the evacuation of a number of Swiss collaborators and about 40 local employees.

US embassy employees also received orders to destroy or burn sensitive materials with the start of the redeployment of 3,000 US soldiers to secure Kabul Airport and supervise evacuations.

lack of resistance

In this context, US Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said that his country did not expect the absence of resistance from the Afghan forces to stop the progress of the Taliban movement on the ground.

In an interview with CNN, the American television network, Kirby added that the political and military leadership in Afghanistan lacks the will to repel the attacks of the movement.

Kirby expressed concern about the speed with which the Taliban movement in Afghanistan, noting that the deteriorating conditions in the country are a major factor behind US President Joe Biden’s approval to send additional troops.

pull plans

On the other hand, POLITICO reported that the Pentagon has begun making plans to withdraw the entire US mission from Afghanistan.

The website, quoting two sources, added that the US Central Command considers the evacuation of the embassy in the Afghan capital inevitable.

In turn, a US official told Reuters today, Saturday, that US soldiers have arrived in Kabul to help evacuate US embassy staff and other civilians from the Afghan capital.

The Pentagon said that two battalions of Marines and a third of the infantry, comprising about 3,000 soldiers, will arrive in Kabul by Sunday evening.

She will look into her actions.

For its part, the US State Department said that it does not trust everything the Taliban says, but will consider its actions, in response to the movement’s announcement that it will not target diplomatic facilities.

State Department spokesman Ned Price confirmed Washington’s focus on diplomacy, in order to put an end to the violence in Afghanistan, pointing out that a US delegation is in Doha for this endeavour.

In an interview with MSNBC, Price stressed that there is an international consensus not to recognize any government that reaches through force.

fertile ground for terrorism

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged not to turn his back on Afghanistan, calling on Western countries to work with Kabul to avoid Afghanistan once again becoming a breeding ground for what he called terrorism.

In a television interview, following a government “crisis meeting”, Johnson also ruled out the hypothesis of resorting to a military solution to the Afghan conflict.

In the same context, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) renewed its commitment to finding a political solution to the Afghan conflict, and after an urgent meeting in Brussels, the alliance said that there would be no international recognition of the Taliban regime if it seized power by force.

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